The NSW Quandary
I’ve been to the US three times in the last year and, as you’d expect, taken an interest in the bankruptcy of governments at the state level – slashing school budgets, sacking staff, ploughing up more debt, generally in crisis.
If someone had told me there was a state – call it state X or Y – with a secure Triple A rating, its budget in surplus and its debt low, I would have taken notice. If they had then said it had the best regarded school curriculum in the nation and one the other states were now required to emulate my interest would have been pricked further. Oh, and a hospital network of proven,world-class outcomes and I would have been really interested.
If my informant had then said this State X had also introduced the world’s first carbon trading scheme and had created one of the world’s top five national park systems – well, take me there, would have been my response. And the best standards for energy and water conservation for new housing in the world….
And they would add, its biggest city has the highest proportion of its population traveling by public transport in the country and good on-time running and has completed the nation’s biggest urban road project and biggest urban rail project …well, which of the 50 is it ? Tell me, so I can meet the governor. Tell me,so I can urge her to run for president.
Moreover, my source continues, it has just legalised adoption by same sex parents, rendered permanent a trial heroin injecting room and saved a swathe of river red gums about to be logged… moreover it boasts a corruption-resistant police force and falling crime rate.
I and my informant would be discussing the best-run state in the Union. No doubt.
The state with these indicators is New South Wales.
That it is not regarded highly by its own citizens is not the result of media negativity but Labor’s own failings, pre-dating Kristina’s administration in most respects : the blocking of electricity privatization, the Metro diversion, the changing of Premiers and the cluster of ministerial scandals, some of them real some beaten-up but more than public opinion will tolerate.
But there is not a State in the US that could beat it on indicators for good governance. That’s the irony.